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Choosing the right underlayment for your hardwood flooring is crucial for a successful installation. With so many options available, how do you know which one is the best?

Installing hardwood flooring is a significant investment, and you want to ensure that it not only looks beautiful but also lasts for years to come. The underlayment plays a vital role in providing stability, insulation, and moisture protection to your hardwood floors. Making the wrong choice can result in squeaky floors, uneven surfaces, and even damage to your hardwood.

To make the most out of your hardwood flooring, it’s essential to select the best underlayment. The right underlayment will not only enhance the performance and longevity of your hardwood floors but also provide added comfort and sound reduction. This article explores the top options available to help you make an informed decision for your hardwood flooring project.

What is Underlayment?

Flooring underlayment is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It is a protective layer that goes between your hardwood flooring and the subfloor. It comes in several different materials (more on that in a moment) and serves several purposes.

First, it provides insulation for both the hardwood and the flooring. Second, it adds soundproofing to the room, preventing too much echoing from the hardwood floor. Third, it adds cushion to your flooring, making it less harsh under your feet. And finally, underlayment prevents natural wear and tear from the hardwood and subfloor rubbing against one another.

Please note, that we carry specific underlayments based on our client’s needs so the options listed below may not be available for your flooring project. This is strictly a general overview and for informational purposes.

Underlayments for Hardwood Flooring

A few popular types of underlayment are foam, which is very commonly used, felt, rubber and cork. Each type has its own specific uses which would help determine which is best for your project.

Foam underlayment

Foam is lightweight, easy to install, and is a great option for soundproofing and cushioning. Although all types serve these purposes as well, foam is most widely used.

Felt underlayment

Felt is a bit thicker than foam and is also a great option when considering insulation and soundproofing. Keep in mind there are also many different types of felt underlayment as well. It’s best to consult with your flooring experts and considering what is available in your area. You really can’t go wrong with either of the options!

Rubber underlayment

Rubber underlayment is also an option that’s widely available. This can be best used in corporate or sports establishments due to it’s sustainable cushioning benefits. Again, it’s best to talk to the pros first before you decide what’s best for your project.

Cork underlayment

Lastly, we’ll be covering cork underlayment. Cork has the bells and whistles when it comes to noise canceling and cushioning, and can be a more eco-friendly option for those who are passionate about that. Also, consider cork for media rooms where there is consistent noise. Due to its natural higher density, it’s a great option.

Factors to Consider when Choosing Underlayment

Moisture resistance

Making sure your underlayment is resistant to moisture is essential in helping to protect your hardwood flooring from water damage like spills, wet shoes, and leaks. Messes happen in the home and protecting your floors will help bring you some peace of mind.


Finding the right underlayment will help make your home properly insulated and comfortable. This will keep your hardwood floors warm in the winter and cool in the summer!


Having a multi person home leads to lots of extra noise throughout the day and evening. Utilizing underlayment will help with soundproofing your home and give you some added peace and quiet.

Thermal insulation

Keeping our homes warm in the winter is always a top priority for Michigan homeowners. By choosing the right underlayment, your floors will have excellent insulation and will be able to retain heat. Say goodbye to freezing toes on a cold winter morning!

Compatibility with flooring type

Finding the right underlayment for your home will depend on the flooring you choose. Your flooring consultant will be your guide in identifying the right choice for your home as each kind of flooring will require a different level of thickness and type of material.


While we know everyone likes to save money where they can, choosing a higher-priced underlayment is one choice you won’t regret. This will help extend the life of your floors and have more of the benefits we mentioned above.

Find Help with Underlayment Installation

As mentioned, the best underlayments for hardwood flooring are those that provide proper cushioning, sound insulation, moisture protection, and stability. 

Dalton Flooring has been doing business as a carpet and flooring store in Southgate for over 40 years. We offer carpet consultations as well as installation from our variety of carpet selections. Whether you visit our store or choose to have samples brought to your home for a Free In-Home Estimate, we have a range of flooring designs and products to help you achieve your desired goals.



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